What is a Mettwurst?
Mettwurst is a type of Rohwurst, or uncooked sausage, which was first recorded as existing around 500 years ago. It’s made from ground pork and finely chopped beef and, much like salami, is cured and cold smoked or air-dried. Mettwürste are usually formed long and thin, though this varies between regions, and their casings generally made from either pork or cow intestines.
There are also regional variations in their meat content and preparation. The lean pork might be ground finely or coarsely; mixed in varying ratios with the beef and/or pork belly, bacon or even turkey; and the sausages smoked for varying lengths of time. Smoked for longer, as is common in the north of Germany, Mettwürste are harder, with a skin that snaps satisfyingly between the teeth when you bite one. In southern parts of the country, Mettwürste are often smoked for a much shorter period of time, resulting a sausage that’s so soft it’s spreadable*.
The smoking process gives Mettwürste a very strong flavour, one that’s complemented by regionally diverse seasonings. They can be flavoured not just with the usual garlic, pepper and spices such as caraway, marjoram or mace but also alcohol, from rum (Braunschweiger Mettwurst) to cognac (the version from Saxony).
How do you eat a Mettwurst?
Mettwürste are very popular as a snack, eaten as they are with a slice of bread. The firmer sausage variations are also used in soups and stews, or cooked and served with cabbage or kale.
*Not to be confused with the raw, spreadable Mett, to which I’ll dedicate another post at a later date.